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Investors closely watch the race for a vaccine to stop the pandemic

In the race for a reliable vaccine against the new coronavirus, five companies from the international biotech sector have become the focus of investors in recent weeks. Two promising companies come from Germany. With a current market capitalization of $1.8 billion, the relatively small US biotechnology company Inovio Pharmaceuticals is also a committed competitor in the race for a vaccine.

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This picture show a nurse with a vaccine.

At the moment, every pharmaceutical and biotech company in the world is researching a reliable vaccine against the new coronavirus. It is very difficult to predict which company will eventually win the race, but there are some companies that have already gained a good lead in the development of the vaccine.

Find out more about the race to find a vaccine against the COVID-19 pandemic and read the latest business news with the Born2Invest mobile app.

Vaccine hopes from Germany

Investors who assume that the big pharmaceutical and biotech companies, which are currently in the race for a vaccine, all come from the USA and China, are being disabused by the Mainz-based biotech company BioNTech and Tübingen-based CureVac. The two companies have been working for quite some time on a vaccine that uses messenger RNA to provide human cells with information that stimulates the body to support the production of specific proteins. These in turn can fight the pathogen.

According to the BIO-Deutschland industry association, BioNTech and CureVac are far from being the only biotech specialists who are currently working hard on a solution. “Many German biotech companies are currently working hard on diagnostics, vaccines and therapies against the novel coronavirus,” said Oliver Schaft, President of the German Biotech Industry Association, in a study carried out in cooperation with the management consultants EY.

The company BioNTech is currently testing four different vaccine candidates

The Mainz-based biotech group already received the green light for the first clinical study for a vaccine against the coronavirus in mid-April. With the BNT162 program, the company is currently testing four different agents that might be potential vaccines. The first results of the clinical trials are expected between June and July.

The confidence in success can also be seen in the share price of the company, which is listed on the US technology exchange Nasdaq. In the past six months, the share price has risen by around 65 percent.

CureVac hopes to bring its drug into the clinical phase this month

The Tübingen-based biopharmaceutical company CureVac, which also focuses on research into the messenger molecule mRNA, also hopes to bring its drug into the clinical phase this month. According to an announcement by the company, the new vaccine has already “achieved positive results” in animal experiments.

Soon, private investors will also have an opportunity to bet on the success of the CureVac vaccine, as the company, which is partly owned by SAP co-founder Dietmar Hopp, plans to go public in July.

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Inovio Pharmaceuticals another committed competitor in the race for a vaccine

With a current market capitalization of around $1.8 billion, the relatively small US biotechnology company Inovio Pharmaceuticals is also a committed competitor in the race for a reliable vaccine. Like CureVac, Inovio was recently able to report that the latest preclinical animal experiments with the potential corona remedy called INO-4800 have been very successful.

In view of the share price performance, it can now be assumed that many investors believe that the Inovio vaccine will also achieve good results in the clinical trials whose results will be published soon. That is because the share price has already gained well over 150 percent since the beginning of March alone.

Investors think that Novavax’s vaccine will be a hit

The shareholders of the American vaccine developer Novavax are also currently expecting the first results from the clinical studies. In the company’s first clinical trial phase, 130 volunteers from Australia were treated with the potential COVID-19 healer NVX-CoV2373.

The share price development of over 250 percent within the last three months clearly shows that many investors are currently speculating that the Novavax vaccine will be a real hit. The shares of the group from Gaitersburg in the US state of Maryland are already among the biggest pandemic winners on the stock exchange. While some of the company’s shares were still being traded for less than $4 in mid-January, the price of the shares is now already well over $40. 

Moderna might start the third phase of the clinical trials in July

Moderna, a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, also saw its share price rally. The shares of the group, which like the German manufacturers concentrates on the development of a vaccine based on messenger RNA, doubled in the past three months.

The company has now succeeded in bringing the first volunteers into the second test phase with the potential corona vaccine mRNA-1273. In this part of the program, the preparation will be tested on a total of 600 volunteers. Provided there are no further complications, the company would even like to start the third phase of its clinical trial in July.

Investors play vaccine roulette

As none of these companies has yet managed to submit an application for approval of a developed drug, the hopes and fears of the shareholders are now, however, still alive. Shareholders with a weakness for pharmaceutical and biotech stocks should, despite the constantly very positive announcements of the individual companies, bear in mind that the search for a reliable new active substance in the pharmaceutical sector is often like looking for a needle in a haystack, as usually only one drug out of 5,000 to 10,000 potential hopefuls is actually launched on the market.

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Consequently, it is quite likely that the majority of potential corona vaccines will never receive marketing authorization from the competent drug authority and that the majority of research-based companies will therefore not be able to make a profit. However, as long as there is a prevailing sense of euphoria on the stock exchange, it will still be possible to make good money with one or two stocks from the biotech sector. However, as soon as disillusionment becomes widespread, investors should immediately leave.

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(Featured image by Gustavo Fring via Pexels)

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Valerie Harrison is a mom of two who likes reporting about the world of finance. She learned about the value of investing at a young age upon taking over her family's textile business when she was just a teenager. Valerie's passion for writing can be traced back to working with an editorial team at her corporate job, where she spent significant time working on market analysis and stock market predictions. Her portfolio includes real estate funds, government bonds, and equities in emerging markets such as cannabis, artificial intelligence, and cryptocurrencies.